I don’t need to tell you 2020 has been a tough year. We’ve all experienced something unusual; some of us have struggled; some of us have experienced loss. One of the things that has kept me focused and grateful is work. Not only is writing and editing possible to do at a distance from clients, but creating books is a real pleasure for me. As I was reflecting on the year, I realized there are three major joys I find in this work. Perhaps they will resonate with you…
A hold-in-your-hands end product
Earlier in my career I worked in the corporate world, managing IT projects, leading people, developing strategy. Almost everything I worked on was intangible. There were of course gratifying moments, especially helping staff develop and grow, but they were ephemeral.
One of the great surprises for me when I started working on books was the delight of holding in my hand something that I had created. What a sense of satisfaction!
The craft and design of the book often add to the pleasure and I get excited to say, “We created this!” And trust me, it is almost always “we” rather than “I.”
The energy of collaboration
Writers do a lot of their work in solitude—scribbling in a notebook, typing on a laptop. We introverts are pretty cool with working alone much of the time, but there is magic when two (or more) people work together.
Whether I get to work with someone as a coach or writer or editor, I approach it as a collaboration. There is an energy that comes from collaboration, a “third force,” a spirit of fun and adventure and “how do we make this better?”
Ideas get honed as they rub up against each other. Spinning is kept to a minimum because you have someone to pull you out of the spiral. When you’re tired, you get an injection of non-caffeine-fueled stamina. Someone has got your back. Someone is on your side. You are a team.
And as a result of collaboration, not only is the final product better, but we also learn from each other.
The opportunity to learn
I love to learn. (Matter of fact, StrengthsFinder says it’s one of my top five talents!) So when I get to work with a client on a subject that is new to me, woohoo! Even on familiar topics, I get new insights, and I often get to share resources with the author to enhance their learning as well.
And by asking questions so I-as-the-representative-of-the-reader can understand the text, the author learns how to articulate their ideas better. (So I guess you could say it is sort of a pushy collaboration.)
Aside from the subject matter, I always learn something process related—whether it’s technology, design, or language, there’s always something new to absorb so I can do better next time.
But knowing there is room for improvement does not detract from the pleasure of each completed book project.
The annual turning point
As you look back on the past year, I sincerely hope you experienced some similar fulfillment, small though it may have been. And as you look forward to 2021, I hope you find and cherish your own source of joy.
Have a safe and happy holiday season, and here’s to a healthy 2021.
If creating a book is in your future and you want some collaborative energy, get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll see if we’re a good fit to work together.